Cities With the Most Content (and Miserable) Workers

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The Worst Cities for Work

10. Spartanburg, S.C.
> Work environment index score: 41.9
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 91.9% (80th highest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 64.0% (89th lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 20.5% (97th lowest)
> Median household income: $40,879 (62nd lowest)

Less than half of Spartanburg respondents thought their supervisors treated them like a partner, among the worst rates of all metro areas reviewed. Like many of the cities where workers are unsatisfied, there appears to be a relationship between poor work environment and both poor life evaluations and emotional health in the region. Only 45.9% of people surveyed said they were happy about their current lives or future prospects, among the lowest in the nation last year. Area residents were also among the most likely Americans to report being depressed or angry.

9. Jackson, Miss.
> Work environment index score: 41.7
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 90.3% (27th lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 67.5% (42nd highest)
> Pct. with college degree: 30.3% (101 highest)
> Median household income: $42,604 (93rd lowest)

As Mississippi’s capital, government accounted for more than 7.5% of Jackson area employment in 2012, a relatively large percentage compared with less than 5% nationwide. With more than 31,000 employees, the state government employed by far the most people in the region that year. Jackson residents were among the least likely to say they used their strengths at work. Also, just 53.6% of workers felt treated like a part at work, lower than in the majority of metro areas and below the 56.6% of workers nationwide. Despite poor workplace evaluations, area residents had an exceptionally good outlook on their lives five years from now. Respondents rated their future prospects 8.2 on average on a scale of one to 10, the best in the nation.

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8. Columbus, Ga. – Ala.
> Work environment index score: 41.3
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 90.0% (19th lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 62.5% (52nd lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 21.9% (123rd lowest)
> Median household income: $42,972 (99th lowest)

More than half of Columbus respondents felt their supervisors treated them like subordinates rather than like a partner, among the worst rates out of all metro areas surveyed. Employees in the region were also not paid particularly well. Median household income in Columbus was $42,972 in 2012, considerably less than the national median of $51,371 that year. Residents were also far less likely than Americans almost anywhere else to practice healthy behaviors on a regular basis. According to Gallup’s Dan Witters, a lack of healthy behavior is often related to a the quality of peoples’ work environments. Jackson area residents were among the least likely respondents to eat well, and were less likely than than Americans overall to exercise regularly or abstain from smoking.

7. Charleston, W. Va.
> Work environment index score: 41.2
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 91.3% (74th lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 52.1% (the lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 23.0% (137th lowest)
> Median household income: $47,610 (174th highest)

Slightly more than 81% of respondents from the Charleston area said they were satisfied with their jobs last year, the worst rate in the nation. Additionally, only 73.8% of workers said they used their strengths at work, also the worst rate among all metro areas reviewed. Charleston’s poor work environment may be reflected in the emotional health of area inhabitants. Only 81.2% said they had not been angry in the past 24 hours, and 72.8% said they had been told by a medical professional they had depression last year, both among the nation’s worst. A relatively high 5.2% of the population worked in the agriculture and mining sector as of 212, with nearly 5,000 people employed in coal production in the metro area’s three counties that year, according to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training.

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6. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla.
> Work environment index score: 41.0
> Pct. feel treated with respect: 91.5% (85th lowest)
> Pct. learned something new that day: 63.5% (70th lowest)
> Pct. with college degree: 21.0% (104th lowest)
> Median household income: $40,106 (47th lowest)

Of all the work environment measures, Deltona residents evaluated their job satisfaction and supervisors the worst. Less than 82% of respondents were satisfied with their jobs last year, worse than in all but a handful of metro areas. Just 48.3% of respondents thought they were treated like an equal by their supervisors, considerably worse than the 56.6% of Americans across all metro areas reviewed. A relatively large portion of the workforce worked in traditionally low-paying jobs in 2012 — 13% worked in the entertainment and accommodations sector, and 16.6% in the retail trade sector. A typical household in the Deltona area made just $40,106 that year, among the lowest compared with other metro areas.